About Bob Pinson

The Bob Pinson Recorded Sound Collection

Spanning the history of recorded sound, the Bob Pinson Recorded Sound Collection embraces nearly 300,000 recordings, including live performances, radio broadcasts, interviews, and ninety-eight percent of all pre-World War II country music recordings released commercially.

About Bob Pinson

In April 2004, the Museum’s recorded sound collection was named in memory of record collector, historian, and longtime staff member Bob Pinson. Pinson, who passed away in 2003 at age sixty-nine, is responsible for amassing the recordings that form the core of the Museum’s collection.

Pursuing a lifelong passion for roots music, Texas native Pinson began collecting records in the 1940s and assembled a collection of 15,000 early country music recordings, including many rare discs that otherwise might have been absent from the historical record. In 1971, he urged the Museum to include historic recordings in its then-small collection and offered his collection for purchase.

Kyle Young, CEO

By making his collection available to us, Bob ensured that the Museum could take its place among the nation’s major cultural institutions.

In May 1973, Pinson followed his collection to Nashville and began working as the Museum’s director of record acquisitions. During the next quarter century, he built the nearly 200,000-disc collection that is now part of the Museum’s Frist Library and Archive.

Pinson accomplished this without an annual appropriation for record acquisitions. Instead, he generated funds by securing donations, selling duplicate copies, and arranging mutually beneficial trades with other institutions like the Library of Congress.

As a Museum staffer, Pinson shared his deep knowledge of country music history and discography with co-workers, scholars, researchers, and fans. He also contributed to many books, including Country Music U.S.A., the first scholarly overview of country music history, by Bill Malone; Charles Townsend’s biography of Bob Wills; Nolan Porterfield’s biography of Jimmie Rodgers; and Colin Escott’s biography of Hank Williams.

He also worked on numerous historic record reissue projects, including: The Bristol Sessions, which documents the first recordings of the Carter Family and Jimmie Rodgers; From Where I Stand: The Black Experience in Country Music; and The Complete Hank Williams.

Pinson retired as a full-time staff member in 1999 but continued his work at the Museum part time. He served as editorial researcher on the landmark volume Country Music Records: A Discography, 1921-1942 by Tony Russell.

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